DECATUR — The Texas Well Owner Network is hosting a water well screening from 8:30–10 a.m., October 21 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office for Wise County, 206 S State Street Ste. A in Decatur, to give area residents the opportunity to have their well water screened.
A meeting explaining screening results will be held at 6 p.m. October 22, at the Wise County Fairgrounds, Women’s Building, 3101 S. FM 51 in Decatur. Julian North, Assistant General Manager, from the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District will also discuss ongoing programs.
The screening is presented by AgriLife Extension and Texas Water Resources Institute in partnership with the AgriLife Extension office in Wise County.
“Private water wells should be tested annually,” said John W. Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist. “It is very important that only sampling bags and bottles from the AgriLife Extension office in Wise County be used and all instructions for proper sampling are followed to ensure accurate results.”
Smith said for area residents to have their well water screened, they need to pick up a sample bag, bottle and instructions from the AgriLife Extension office in Wise County. A $15 per sample fee will be collected when bags and bottles are picked up by participants. Bottles and bags will be available at least a week before the turn-in date.
The samples must be turned in before 10 a.m. on Wednesday, October 21. Samples will be screened for common contaminants, including total coliform bacteria, E. coli, nitrate-nitrogen and salinity.
Research shows the presence of E. coli bacteria in water indicates that waste from humans or warm-blooded animals may have contaminated the water. Water contaminated with E. coli is more likely to also have pathogens present that can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea or other symptoms.
“Water with nitrate-nitrogen at levels of 10 parts per million is considered unsafe for human consumption,” Smith said. “These nitrate levels above 10 parts per million can disrupt the ability of blood to carry oxygen throughout the body, resulting in a condition called methemoglobinemia. Infants less than 6 months of age and young livestock are most susceptible.”
Salinity as measured by total dissolved solids will also be determined for each sample. Water with high levels may leave deposits and have a salty taste, and using water with high levels for irrigation may damage soil or plants.
Smith said it is extremely important for those submitting samples to be at the meeting to receive results, learn corrective measures for identified problems and to improve understanding of private well management.
For more information, please contact the AgriLife Extension office in Wise County at 940-627-3341. To learn more about the programs offered through the network or to find additional publications and resources, please visit http://twon.tamu.edu.
Support for the Texas Well Owner Network program is provided through Clean Water Act nonpoint source funding from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.